Calvert County has seen a doubling in the number of confirmed coronaviruses cases in the past 10 days from about 30 to 60 cases a week.
Dr. Larry Polsky, the county’s health officer, made that announcement Monday morning as part of a virtual town hall hosted by the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce.
He said the cases are fairly evenly distributed among various age groups, although the 20 to 27 age group had the highest number of cases from Sept. 3 to 9, according to a chart at calverthealth.org.
The number of cases among older teens and young adults spiked in the last week of July and in early August, a result that Polsky attributed to a high school graduation party, before coming down some. He said the more recent increase was not linked to travel, and noted there was a lot of spread within families.
As of Sept. 13, the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 3.53% and Calvert’s was 3.6%, according to coronavirus.maryland.gov. There were 874 confirmed cases and 27 deaths related to COVID-19 in Calvert as of Monday. The latter statistic came from the state, but Polsky has noted that number includes deaths from persons who were living in nursing or retirement homes outside of the county when they died. The county’s health department website showed 12 deaths as of Tuesday.
Polsky said that, for every diagnosed case, there are five to 10 more cases in the community. These are from people with no symptoms or who don’t want to get tested.
He said that one can get a result in 15 to 20 minutes from a rapid test, which is protein-based but not as sensitive as a lab-based test. The latter, which track ribonucleic acid (RNA), are more accurate. If someone has multiple symptoms but a rapid test yields a negative result, he suggests having a lab-based test done and quarantining for 10 days or until the lab-based test result comes back.
Polsky said lab-based tests yield six positive COVID-19 tests for every five positive rapid tests. This means that rapid tests are missing one in six positive tests, he said.
He said four people with severe coronavirus infections were at CalvertHealth Medical Center as of Monday and noted that, if a severe illness is going to occur, it takes 1½ to 2½ weeks from an initial infection.
“Try to stay happy. This is so anxiety ridden. It’s a psychological phenomenon for so many. We have to be good to others,” county Commissioner Steve Weems (R) said on Tuesday during the commissioners’ meeting, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sheriff gives virus, overdose updates
Sheriff Mike Evans (R) said that four of his deputies and two correctional officers were diagnosed with the coronavirus, and one of the deputies had a “very serious case but survived it.”
There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases at the Calvert detention center, he said.
In other news, Evans said there have been six fatal car crashes this year in Calvert resulting in seven deaths, at least five of which involved alcohol or drugs, including an intoxicated pedestrian.
“Overdosing is still a problem,” he said, noting there have been 79 overdoses so far this year, including 16 deaths.
“We’re not anywhere close to fixing this heroin epidemic,” he said.